When it comes to summer family films, who, we figured, is better to ask than kids? So we gathered our junior film critic crew in Seattle ( AKA my kids): Neve (9), Jaxon (6), Veda (4.5) and Luka (2.5), and asked them to tell us what they think about the summer kiddie-flick lineup, based on the trailers. We watched each trailer two times, and I recorded their reactions and asked a few questions about what they thought, and which movies they're most excited about seeing. Here's what the junior squad has to say about the summer family lineup. (Note: I included Superman Returns and X-3 because a lot of families will take their kids to these flicks, or at least watch the "family" version of X-3 on pay-per-view. Also, the crew flatly refused to watch the trailer for Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties, so you're on your own on that one).
Title: Over the Hedge (view trailer)
Release Date: May 19
Description: After a fancy suburban development builds a giant hedge to keep the wildlife out, woodland creatures strike back.
JAXON: I think it's funny and cool and awesome!
NEVE: It looks really funny, definitely a movie that I want to see.
VEDA: I think it's boring. I don't wanna watch that again, Mommy.
LUKA: Likes the part where the squirrel burps his ABCs, and promptly mimicks it. Thanks, Dreamworks.
Title: X-Men: The Last Stand (view trailer)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: May 26
Description: When scientists find a way to remove the gene that causes mutations, mutants band together to fight being forced to be made "normal".
NEVE: I don't like it. I was never a really big fan of X-Men. Except Wolverine. Wolverine is cool.
JAXON: I love X-Men. That looks cool!
Title: Cars (view trailer)
Release Date: June 9
Description: A popular race car learns the value of love and the simple life when he's sidetracked in a small town. Kinda like Doc Hollywood, only with animated cars.
VEDA: That's scary. Can we watch the cow movie now?
NEVE: I guess it's okay. Eh. I guess if Jaxon and Veda and Luka were really wanting to see it, I guess I'd go. But I could wait 'til it comes on pay-per-view.
JAXON: I think the Monster House movie looks cooler.
LUKA: Shakes head no. Repeatedly.
NEVE: It looks awesome, I wanna see it! A little scary, but cool.
JAXON: It looks cool.
VEDA: I don't like it. It's scary.
LUKA: I scared.
NEVE: Wow. Whoa.
JAX: Awesome! That's totally awesome!
VEDA: I wanna watch a movie that's not scary.
LUKA: (mimicking Kevin Spacey) Billions!
Title: Barnyard (view trailer)
Studio: Paramount/Nickelodeon Movies
Release Date: July 28
Description: Something about weird, square-looking cows who steal a car and go boy-tipping. Maybe there's more to it than that, hard to say from the trailer.
VEDA: I liked it. Because I like the cows.
NEVE: Well, for one thing, the animation was not exactly the best animation I've ever seen. And for another thing, how come those are girl cows with boy voices? I mean, they have udders! That means they're girls! And the movie just looks stupid – I do not wanna see it.
JAXON: The cows are scary. They look like bears.
LUKA: No cows!
VEDA: I liked it!
NEVE: It looked funny, especially the part where that ant was like, "Expecto Patronum!" It looks funny, I wanna see it. From the other commercials that I've seen the ants are mad that this kid is bullying them, so they build this thing to shrink him down to their size.
JAXON: It looked cool! I wanna see The Ant Bully now!
Summary: Based on the junior crew's responses, the summer films that most interest them are Monster House, Superman Returns, and The Ant Bully. Cars and Barnyard got decidely lukewarm or negative responses. Over the Hedge has moderate potential, but didn't stand up against the allure of a house that eats people and a guy in tights who flies and kicks bad-guy butt. Garfield? Yaaaaaawn. No interest whatsoever -- they wouldn't even watch the trailer. X-Men, of course, is too intense for younger kids, except perhaps in a toned-down family version, but older kids might like it.